Why #ISTE13 Will Be a Tipping Point for Education

“The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.”
― Malcolm GladwellThe Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Here comes the tipping point! The title of this post may seem like hyperbole, but I firmly believe a magic moment might be upon us for education. Let’s take a look at four quotes from Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point and how they apply to this year’s conference.

“If you want to bring a fundamental change in people’s belief and behavior…you need to create a community around them, where those new beliefs can be practiced and expressed and nurtured.”
― Malcolm GladwellThe Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

1. The community of educators who are going to be at ISTE 2013 in San Antonio are passionate and more than anything: connected. Because we blog, tweet, share, and collaborate with each other these new beliefs “can be practiced and nurtured”. Think about all of the teachers who have been “teaching above the test” this past year and sharing what their classes have been doing from September to June. Now they are able to come meet and have that belief actually nurtured. ISTE provides such a welcome platform for this to happen.

“There are exceptional people out there who are capable of starting epidemics. All you have to do is find them.”
― Malcolm GladwellThe Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

2. When’s the last time you were inspired? Many people go years and years without being inspired in their jobs. Now, take the education community at ISTE 2013. Most of of us have been inspired by our colleagues throughout this year. Whether it be a 20% time talk by Kevin Brookhouser, a riveting speech by Rita Pierson, the Epic Evernote experiment by Nick Provenzano, or an Edcamp. I’m so happy working in this field, because I believe it is the most important job in the world. And I’m blessed to have amazing educators who believe the same thing. They are leaders starting epidemics…now watch it spread.

“Emotion is contagious.”
― Malcolm GladwellThe Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

3. I’m a big fan of Twitter and connecting online, but it is difficult to see emotion sometimes online. That’s why conferences and Edcamps and conversations really spark change. When you watch a fellow educator give a speech, or talk at a workshop, it’s obvious whether or not they truly believe. More people have that emotion now than ever before in education. That’s why I know a tipping point is on the horizon, I can see the emotion flowing from so many people when talking about our students.

“That is the paradox of the epidemic: that in order to create one contagious movement, you often have to create many small movements first.”
― Malcolm GladwellThe Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

4. I see many small movements right now. 20% time. Genius Hour. Innovation Days/Weeks. Edcamps. Unconferences. Global collaboration projects. The global read aloud. Project-based learning. User-generated education. Personalized learning. Flipped learning. BYOD. 1:1 initiatives. Real time data. Blended learning. MOOCs. And the list could go on.

What does it really mean? To me, it means that we have more “first followers” than ever before in education. Because a movement grows and expands with these first followers, we are nearing a tipping point. Soon you’ll be an lonely if you haven’t joined a movement for change in education, and that means more innovation in our schools, and better learning experiences for our students. I for one am excited to be a witness!

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